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Surfers' paradise

Dixe Wills

dixe.jpgSoooo, The Innocence of Muslims. Now there's an interesting film. Well, actually, going by the trailer on Youtube, probably not so interesting. Anyway, it's unlikely we're ever going to find out, for so far it's only had two screenings at a single Hollywood cinema. It lasted about an hour, confusingly went by the name The Innocence of Bin Laden, and a mere handful of people attended.

Of course, that hasn't stopped protests breaking out around the world. Tens of people have been killed in the violence, while in Pakistan, the Federal Minister for Railways, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, has offered a US$100,000 bounty to anyone who kills Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the US-Egyptian film-maker concerned. Let's not consider how the Federal Minister for Railways has US$100,000 to spare.

The reason the film has garnered so much attention, of course, is that infamous trailer (and its shorter Arabic-dubbed version) which, despite having been blocked in a string of countries, has been seen by millions. As trailers go it's on the lengthy side - a 14-minute running time displays an ill-boding reluctance to wield the editorial knife - so here it is in condensed form.

Mohammed is an attractive white US guy who looks like Jesus but wears a scarf as if he were Mary. He is illegitimate, bloodthirsty, a wannabe Dr Dolittle (he has a scene with a talking donkey), has '61 wives, 11 at the same time', is an adulterer and gay (while sitting in the desert the Prophet utters the immortal line, 'Do you remember the night at the gym?'). The Qu'ran is a mash-up of Torah and New Testament devised by a man in a palpably false beard. A 120-year-old woman is torn asunder by two donkeys. And for no apparent reason, there's some modern-day stuff about Muslims attacking a Christian clinic in Egypt.

 The acting throughout is beyond mere wooden, the sets are risible in the extreme, but even these outshine the dubbing. Oh, the dubbing. One of the actors claims she was tricked into appearing by being told it was a film called Desert Warriors about someone called Master George, which explains the world's clumsiest overdubs when any of the characters mentions the name 'Muhammad'.

Halfway through, a man with another false beard (or perhaps they share it) pops up on screen to say, 'I do not understand,' then disappears again. It's very Monty Python. And that, my friends, doth give the game away. This is not, in fact, a film attacking Mohammed, it's a searing parody of the Life of Brian. It's all there - the false beards, the Christ-like main character, the comic dubbing, the Gilliam-esque talking donkeys, and not only is the protagonist not the Messiah, he is a very naughty boy indeed. Then there's the promotion of the enterprise by loveable madcap pastor Terry Jones. It's clearly time for Brianians to get angry. I for one shall be renewing my membership of the People's Front of Judea forthwith. And the Judean People's Front. 

Dixe Wills